Cooking with Courtney Crave


Courtney Crave by, MUA/H: Ladonna Stein, Apron: Mia Maria Designs

Courtney Crave by, MUA/H: Ladonna Stein, Apron: Mia Maria Designs

Sugar Plums

I’ve got for you a traditional Christmas treat that’s already vegan (depending on your position on honey) and requires no baking, Sugar Plums!  I bet you didn’t think sugar plums actually existed, or if you did, I bet you had no idea what they were or why they would be dancing in children’s heads.  Delicious and easy is what they are.  You can thank Alton Brown for this gem of a holiday recipe.


  • 6 ounces slivered almonds, toasted
  • 4 ounces dried plums
  • 4 ounces dried apricots
  • 4 ounces dried figs
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon anise seeds, toasted
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted
  • 1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds, toasted
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup coarse sugar


  • Put your toasted almonds, apricots, and figs into a small food processor and pulse 25-30 times or until the fruit and nuts are chopped in small pieces.  Stop before the mixture becomes a ball!  In a medium bowl combine the powdered sugar, anise seeds, fennel seeds, caraway seeds, cardamom, and salt.  Add the nut and fruit mixture and honey and mix well with your hands until it’s all combined.  I recommend using gloves for this (and not the lacey or satin kind, I mean the latex or nitrile kind).  Sprinkle a serving tray with some of the coarse sugar and place the rest in a small bowl or dish.  Using your gloved hands, scoop the mixture into ¼ ounce portions and roll into balls, they will be about half the size of a golf ball.  Roll them in the coarse sugar (this is where the small dish comes in handy) and place them on the serving tray.  The sugar on the serving tray will prevent them from sticking.  If you are not serving them immediately wait to roll them in coarse sugar.  Sugar plums can be kept on a serving tray for up to a week, after that store them in an airtight container for up to a month.  Wow your friends and family with the delicious knowledge of what a sugar plum actually is and how to make them.

tomandjerrycocktailTom & Jerry

Every year at Christmas my father would make a hot cocktail called a Tom & Jerry.  Of course as a child I was being served the sans alcohol version which was still equally tasty.  But for all you adults out there, here’s a holiday drink for you to enjoy, and because it’s warm you can drink it before noon instead of coffee!

Batter Ingredients

  • 8-10 eggs
  • 2 lbs powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of salt

Liquor Ingredients

  • 1/3 Brandy
  • 1/3 dark Rum
  • 1/3 Whiskey


  • Any number of eggs, 8-10 will make a large bowl.  Keep eggs at room temperature and separate the yolks and white into two bowls.  Beat the egg whites until stiff.  Beat the egg yolks until thick and creamy, it takes a lot of beating so you may want to use an electric mixer/whisk.  If you don’t one ask Santa to get you one for Christmas.  Gradually add at least a pound of powdered sugar to the egg white and continue beating until mixed.  Add the same amount or more powdered sugar to the egg yolks and keep beating until thick and creamy again.  Add a pinch of salt and about ½ tsp vanilla to the egg yolk mixture.  Fold the egg yolk batter into the egg whites.  In a mug, add hot water to a generous jigger of liquor and top with batter and freshly grated nutmeg.  Do not stir!  For underage persons create the same cocktail with just the hot water and batter topping.

*Vegetarian option: Although not quite the same, the closest thing I have found to replace the egg mixture in a Tom & Jerry is marshmallow creme, and believe me, I’ve done a lot of experimenting.  If you’ve found a better replacement please write to Pin Curl and let me know!


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